FORT COLLINS, COLO (Jan. 19, 11:35 a.m. ET) — Eugene Chen, a chemistry professor at Colorado State University, has developed several patent-pending chemical processes for converting non-edible plant biomass into bioplastics.
Chen found that commercially available organic catalysts applied to small molecules derived from plant biomass are very active and efficient – the reaction achieves completion within a minute – and non-toxic, according to a news release from the Fort Collins university.
Chen also developed a metal-based catalyst system that produces “stereoregular” polymers that exhibit superior physical and mechanical properties.
CSU Ventures, the university's technology transfer arm, is optimistic about the commercial potential of Chen's work, and has filed several provisional patent applications.
Chen joined Colorado State in 2000 from Dow Chemical Co. His current research has been supported by grants from the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Department of Energy.